Friends, Romans and countrymen - lend me your ear. About a month ago, the wife's 2000 VW Passat with 125,000 miles on it developed an engine malfunction. It was misfiring on what turned out to be cylinder one. I found this out by using my code reader to determine the cause of my "check engine" light.
Deductive reasoning told me that by misfiring on only one cylinder that my initial guess of "bad gas" was not going to be the culprit. And when I pulled that particular plug, I noticed it didn't appear to be fouled, but was indeed wet. That told me it was indeed getting fuel, just no fire. Because this 1.8 turbo engine is a distributorless ignition, I quickly determined that the likely culprit was the ignition coil for that particular cylinder. In these kinds of lower maintenance engines, each cylinder has its own individual coil.
Because I have a number of vehicles at my disposal and wasn't in a big hurry, I decided to search for the part on the internet as the local parts shop wanted 80.00 for it. A simple google brought me to "ThePartsBin dot Com". The website showed me the part I needed. That it was a mere 30-odd dollar charge including shipping and that the part would be to my house in a few days. The plot really doesn't need to "thicken" at this point gentle reader, as I'm sure you know where this tale is headed. And no, "the butler didn't do it." Of course the part didn't arrive as I was informed.
I call them back, to be told that they don't have that part in stock right now and that they sent me an email telling me they cancelled the order and refunded my card. Of course I never got said email and have yet to check with Visa to see if they refunded me. I ended up paying the 80.00 for the part at NAPA, replaced the faulty coil and now the wife is happy again. She's still not cooking or sleeping in the same bed with me but hey you choose your battles in life eh?
So now my wife's fun-2-drive car is back on the road getting 30 plus MPH and I think to myself, "self, if ONE of the 4 coils has gone bad, perhaps it'd be prudent to have a second one on hand, in case it happens again". Like when you're driving 14 hours to Jackson Hole Wyoming this summer where you don't want to get stranded on the side of the road only to become some grizzly bear's afternoon snack. So silly me now goes back to THE PARTS BIN to see if they've gotten new stock. After all they had the far better price. The website indicated they did in fact have the part in stock.
Not to be fooled again, I engaged in an online chat with a monkey on the other side of the keyboard who claimed to be working for the website and "yes they had coils in stock." I REPEATEDLY (3 times) axed her/him if that particular part was in stock. YES it is in stock and READY TO BE SHIPPED! WE JUST GOT ANOTHER SHIPMENT IN THIS WEEK! Now here's the part where I need "sucker" tattooed across my forehead. OF COURSE THE PART DOESN'T COME AGAIN. JUST LIKE IT DIDN'T COME THE LAST TIME! (At least they are consistent)
I call their 800 number AGAIN and AGAIN. Am informed that they don't have the part and that they emailed me (they didn't) and refunded me - (I'm not sure). So fellow shade-tree mechanics, it comes down to this, don't use "ThePartsBin dot Com" to order anything especially VW Passat ignition coils. In fact, I wouldn't order from them at all as their website doesn't appear to really reflect what parts they do in fact have in stock. Even their online chat personnel don't seem to have a grip on what they got or what they don't got. But they sure like to play "gotcha." Happy motoring.
The Parts Bin/Auto Parts Warehouse/All OEM Parts Inc. The companies listed all have the same phone number and are all affiliated. I actually ordered a set of WeatherTech window deflectors from The Parts Bin. They arrived damaged due to packaging (shipped in a thin cardboard box with plastic parts inside, box was only as thick as the window vent visors, with no extra protection). I called the phone number on the packing slip (All OEM Parts Inc. 888-628-3247) and they said I had to wait 2-3 days to receive a Return Authorization Number by e-mail.
Well, needless to say I had to call them and get the Number, and only to find out that I have to pay for return shipping and they also said that I had to try to get refunded for shipping by FedEx since they delivered the banged up box (Yeah, Right!). I actually wanted them to replace the part at first, and their response was that I had to purchase another $103.00 set of window deflectors and wait 4-6 weeks for a refund on the unusable damaged set (Like I was going to give them my credit card number again, NOT). I asked to speak with a supervisor because I just could not believe what I was hearing, and of course they were in a meeting!
Well, I tried 2 more times and was finally told that they would not transfer me to a Supervisor because they would tell me the same thing. I filed a complaint with the BBB and after filing that complaint, noticed that hundreds of others have filed complaints as well, with very few resolved issues and very few complaints replied to (needless to say, they are not a member of the BBB). Unfortunately, I was not able to look them up before purchasing from them, as they do business under so many different names. So, I hope this will help others not make the same mistake that I made by ordering from these unethical businesses.
The complaints from the BBB are numerous and the issues vary, so definitely check them out before purchasing anything! Hopefully, I will receive my refund, as their policy is to send the package to the manufacturer for inspection and then after they receive Their Credit from the manufacturer, will they issue me a refund! I will also keep you posted on that!